Mystery fairy circles defy explanation

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Mystery Fairy Circles Defy Explanation

A strange phenomenon occurring in Africa's Namib desert has scientists scratching their heads. These barren patches surrounded by a ring of of thriving vegetation are nicknamed "fairy circles."

These almost perfect circles of dead soil can grow to 65 feet in diameter and live as long as 75 years. The circles occur in the millions in an area where arid grasslands turns into desert for over one thousand miles from Angola to South Africa.

Over the past several years, scientists have offered up a variety of theories, including grass killing carbon dioxide that seeps from the ground to unusual termite feeding patterns. But, the latest explanation, published in the Journal Ecography, is that the patterns are created as grasses compete for limited water and nutrients.

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Mystery fairy circles defy explanation
A strange phenomenon occurring in Africa’s Namibian desert has scientists scratching their heads. 
A strange phenomenon occurring in Africa’s Namibian desert has scientists scratching their heads. 
A strange phenomenon occurring in Africa’s Namibian desert has scientists scratching their heads. 
A strange phenomenon occurring in Africa’s Namibian desert has scientists scratching their heads. 
A strange phenomenon occurring in Africa’s Namibian desert has scientists scratching their heads. 
A strange phenomenon occurring in Africa’s Namibian desert has scientists scratching their heads. 
A strange phenomenon occurring in Africa’s Namibian desert has scientists scratching their heads. 
A strange phenomenon occurring in Africa’s Namibian desert has scientists scratching their heads. 
Fairy Circles, Namibia, Africa (Photo by Hoberman Collection/UIG via Getty Images)
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